I have had an aversion to sharing in the past several months, because how do I say it? How do I justly tell a story that has so many details and changing parts that won’t leave me feeling torn apart and raw or worse yet…vulnerable. After all, isn’t dealing with child loss and grief enough? I mean why tell a story that will make me look like a glutton for punishment? I don’t know. But what I do know is that an amazing story is unfolding in my life and I haven’t shared it because of vulnerability. I have avoided the messy, ugly, scorching parts in order to preserve what little dignity I have left. Questions, opinions, judgement, they all raise the hairs on my neck. So I have turned to close confidants and my prayer posse to stand there, in this foggy ditch and intercede on my behalf until I can muster the words……God is still working. He has not set my tapestry down and forgotten. He is very much working out the finest of details.This ‘new us’ is now on a constant quest for joy. Consistently, almost methodically searching and seeking not the temporary thrills and distractions from our pain, but eternal, long-lasting, blanketing joy. We did a lot of talking and praying about this joy. I asked God to tell me where to go to find this gift He had for us and very clearly he pointed us to children, the beautifully packaged joy that He has time and again chosen for us since we were just 18 years old. May 2014. Mother’s Day weekend. We got an email that informed us that a young, homeless girl in Florida is pregnant and has chosen us to be the forever family for her baby, due in October. We were ecstatic! Oh, how we have longed for a baby to hold and love since that day just a year before when our lives were shattered and our Freh was taken from us. I finally felt like there was some joy.to.be.had. A baby, a young mother in need, a little package of hope.
We flew to Florida and met “D” and her boyfriend. We went to an ultrasound and saw the little life inside her. It was a boy. He was healthy. We enjoyed the time we spent with this young girl, talking about her life and her plans for herself. Seeing that the relationship she was in with her boyfriend was not healthy, Sten and I talked with her about that and ways she could get help. We bonded with this young mother. I felt an immediate love for her. She showed us the hotel she was now staying in, and we taught her how to cook some food for herself. On the flight home, Sten and I admitted that we felt conflicted. We really wished she could somehow find a way, like we had over 19 years ago, to keep her baby and yet, we still really longed for a baby. I committed to praying simply that God would move in D’s life and that He would guide her to the right decision.
She and I texted throughout the summer and I was able to have a few very meaningful conversations with her. We talked about purpose and God and joy. She knew that we had lost our daughter a year before and she asked me how I handle that, a question that brought such a lump to my throat because I knew what possibly laid ahead in her future. I simply answered that I just let God handle the hard parts and I never stop seeking Him. Her response was that her grandmother used to tell her the same thing.
35 weeks, ultrasound day….we received a call that D had not shown up for her ultrasound and that she called to tell our consultant that she has decided to leave her boyfriend and keep her baby. She had reunited with her mom and they were going to raise the baby together. Now, you might think that we were angry with her for this…afterall, how could she string us along all summer and take thousands from us in support? We had our house ready for a baby. WE were supposed to be his parents, right? Nope. God had protected our hearts so perfectly that when we got the news, and the initial (5minute) sting wore off, we were so HAPPY for D. She found a way. She gets to be a momma to her baby!! How could that make anyone angry? God had worked it out to the smallest details. My concern was that she knew we were so happy for her and that we loved her, no matter. It was ok. I felt that peace that only God can wash over me.
This is where it gets ugly and messy and, for sake of sanity and humility and all.things.sensible, I will just share the watered down version. Have you ever had an experience that is so confusing and awful that all you can do is chalk it up to the darkness in this world? Well, that’s kind of how this next part played out……Two days later we were matched with another baby due “any day now”. He was 100% certainly ours, or so we were told. We let our guards down, went to Target and bought everything we would need for this soon to be born child. Then, I asked if a prenatal record was available for us to look over so we knew what to expect with this baby and just.like.that he was stripped from us and given to a family who would “love him unconditionally” (aka pay more money and not ask questions) To my friends in the adoption community, you may take a short break to wash the vomit from your mouths. I know. Brutal.
Two weeks of refusal to answer our emails and phone calls. We had nothing. We were devastated, angry, hurt, seething mad. Talk about God putting up a huge wall. In the midst of hurt and loss upon loss like this, we barely could see straight. I pushed hard into God and the very close, personal friends he has gifted me with. They spoke truth into me. I cried, paced, spit…all of those ugly things you do when you get seething mad. But, God was loud and clear to me, once again, to wait. be quiet. TRUST HIM.
I decided I was not going to share publicly what had happened. I was going to let things pass and hopefully ease into the next chapter, without many scars or should I say judgement. People would notice when November comes and we don’t have a baby. I just didn’t have the words. I kept hearing God nudging me to ‘write it out’….share what He is doing in the midst of pain, but golly! That is just such a vulnerable place to put yourself. And in the center of all that confusion and hurt, I certainly couldn’t see the thread of God’s needle. I could feel more of the flame of his blowtorch… How could I possibly find some wonderfully holy inspiration for writing? But God kept revisiting the issue. Write.
Behind the adoption drama unfolding, another ache. Our oldest son. He has had a difficult stretch these last few years and we have had to let him learn some incredibly hard life lessons. Ones that you think to yourself, “son, this is going to possibly wreck you, but you must walk across these burning embers in order to heal and learn.” I can see now that God knew. God saw way in advance that if we had been given D’s baby, we certainly would not have been available to help our first-born child through quite possibly, the most difficult time in his life. I love my God for protecting my children that way. For answering my very own prayers for my children so perfectly. Weaving our hearts together in the most intricate way possible. I am thankful.
My husband is a patient and introspective man. He encourages me to do things that really stretch me, like be patient, wait it out, be quiet (HA!), listen. He is such a ROCK for me. After all the dust settled from that terrible “you have a baby, wait, no you don’t” week…Sten said to me that we should wait a month, get our bearings and start looking around us at what we should do next. We certainly agreed that we weren’t going to give up on adoption. God put that call on our hearts and we haven’t felt as if he is taking it away.
On November 6 we signed with an adoption consulting firm called Christian Adoption Consultants. Turns out, Freh’s friend in Heaven, Mattie Sam, well, his mom is one of the lead consultants there and they orchestrated the whole “hey, our moms should totally meet” thing. Tracie and I firmly believe that they are up to some serious Heavenly Shenanigans! Isn’t that cool? Isn’t it amazing how if you just take a half step back, you can see that GLORY IS RIGHT THERE? God, just waiting to do His thing! Now, we are working with Tracie’s team at CAC to meet a need and be matched with a baby who needs us and we cannot wait to see what God will do with this. It finally feels like we are right where He wants us to be. Adoption is very hard. Adoption is very risky. But, with God and Godly people by your side, He will use the ugliest of situations and bring beauty from them!
All this time, I have heard God speaking to me to write. “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:1-4 This verse has come to my plate many times over the course of the past 8 years. Be a lamp. Still, I struggled inside my own head with sharing. People will just understand, I told my self. God will understand why I don’t want to write about it, it’s painful. But then, without even mentioning this spiritual struggle to anyone, God used one of his people to deliver a message. A facebook friend wrote me and said she had been feeling like the Lord was leading her to pray for me. We chatted about that and I let her in on the very surface details of our adoption trials. Then just Sunday morning, she messaged me again, “Have you blogged about any of this? I’m wondering if sharing your thoughts, your story might bring your baby home? I believe God is not asking you to share your sorrow rather share His love and openly SEEK your baby. I’m positive God is asking me to tell you to listen to that voice you hear calling.”
Yes. My God. Our God. He does these things. He uses his people as 2x4s to smack us upside the head. He’s done it before. Why am I surprised?
So, I just spent the better part of a Monday writing to you about the wonderful, faithful, amazing love that is God. He is in the very details of our lives, even when we feel so far from him. He is right there. Listening. Beckoning. Leading.
A I am not giving up. Refinement is painful at times. I can see joy and sorrow, contentment and longing all rolled up into a holy ball of fire and ice, beauty like nothing ever witnessed before.
If you have endured this post to the very end, would you do one more thing? Would you please pray for us. Pray that whatever baby God is intending for our family will make it to our family soon. Praise God with us for the mighty work He is doing in our oldest son. Ask God to give our weary hearts strength in this wait. Pray protection and peace over our children. Ask God for grand logistic graces for all of the ifs and whens of this adoption and the impending adoption of Mihret’s brother from Ethiopia. Please pray that I will continue to seek and see Him in all of the details.
Love you all.